Breeding new varieties
For more than 20 years, NOVADI has been involved in a varietal co-breeding program with INRAE. This breeding program focuses on improving agronomic, organoleptic and commercial qualities, with a strong emphasis on resistance to pests and diseases, based on collaboration with INRAE.
The main selection criteria are as follows:
- Agronomic qualities
- Long-lasting resistance to pests and diseases (scab, powdery mildew, aphids, fire blight, etc.)
- Easy to manage, regular in production and rapid fruiting
- Adaptation to pedo-climatic context
- Organoleptic qualities
- Innovative aromas
- Finesse of the flesh
- Good sugar/acid balance
- Good juice level
- Commercial qualities
- Attractive fruit (size, shape, colour etc.)
- Good coverage of the harvest calendar
- Long shelf life
- Pack-out (high % of fruit in category 1)
Below is a summary of our classic selection scheme:
The first step in the breeding program is the creation of several progenies through controlled hybridization between two apple cultivars. These are mainly hybrids of interest with multiple resistances, but also old varieties and recent commercial varieties.
The second step in the breeding program is to carry out a screening against the main apple disease caused by a fungus: scab (Venturia inequalis). For this purpose, the seeds obtained from the controlled hybridizations are stratified, then sown and grown under greenhouses before being inoculated with a scab suspension. The seedlings susceptible to the fungus are eliminated, while the others go on to the next stage.
The third stage of the breeding program consists of a second screening, this time against another fungus: apple powdery mildew (Podosphaera leucotricha). The scab-resistant seedlings are planted in a nursery for one and a half years, during which time the powdery mildew will naturally establish itself. The apple trees with little or no sensitivity will be selected for the next stage.
The fourth stage of the selection program concerns the evaluation of hybrids at the selection at the agronomic, qualitative and aesthetic level in the orchard. Scab-resistant (common races) and powdery mildew-tolerant hybrids are multiplied by grafting to be evaluated on our 5 experimental sites, which are located in the three main apple production basins in France. Our breeders carry out observations on specific criteria over several years and select the best hybrids for the next stage.
The fifth stage of the selection program consists of continuing the observations of the best hybrids in a system close to the production conditions and in the different pedoclimatic contexts of our experimental orchards. This stage is also based at the national level on the variety evaluation system and at the European level via the experimentation networks. Internationally, our partners evaluate the adaptation of the preselections to their different pedoclimatic conditions.
Selection is carried out on each of the criteria presented in the introduction and lasts on average 10 years to ensure the stability of the characteristics observed, whatever the weather conditions of the year.
Once a variety has demonstrated its commercial potential, the work of dissemination begins, which consists of ensuring the development, commercialization and implementation of a marketing strategy adapted to each new variety.
NOVADI achieves the following:
- Protection of varieties through a Plant Breeder Right (PBR) issued by the various plant protection authorities in accordance with the provisions adopted by UPOV in 1961.
The PBR guarantees the holder control over the propagation of varieties. It also makes it possible to prevent any unlawful arrival of fruits of the varieties on the protected territories. The PBR is therefore an essential tool for the development of a variety.
- Multiplication of the trees by the nurserymen who have obtained the licensing rights for the varieties.
Nurseries work closely with CTIFL and other foreign certifiers to produce certified trees that guarantee the varietal authenticity and good health of the trees.
- Management of marketing strategy: variety in free distribution, variety in selective distribution network but also via the registration of trademarks contributing to give a strong identity to the varieties.
- Promotion of varieties through technical visits, advertising in trade fairs or specialized magazines